Posted by: africanpressorganization | 29 October 2008

Sudan / Somalia / US Department of State / Daily Press Briefing



Sudan / Somalia / US Department of State / Daily Press Briefing


WASHINGTON, October 29, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — US Department of State / Daily Press Briefing

Robert Wood, Deputy Spokesman

Taken questions


QUESTION: Two weeks ago, there was an arms shipment to southern Sudan that was intercepted. It was going via Kenya and it was secret, and we only found out about it because Somali pirates happened to attack this boat and it created this international incident. But it seems like the U.S. officials were watching closely.

What involvement, if any, has the – did the U.S. Government have in that arms shipment? And has the matter been resolved to your satisfaction?

MR. WOOD: I’m not aware of any U.S. involvement in the shipment. What we’ve been trying to do, of course, is deal with this piracy case off the coast of Somalia, and that – I would refer you to the Pentagon for any further – or any update on that situation. But again, as I’ve said before from the podium, that piracy is a big concern of ours, not just the United States, but other countries, and we want to try to get together and work on a way to try to end piracy.

QUESTION: So you’re saying that the U.S. didn’t have special concerns with this shipment itself, but just the idea of piracy, but that the U.S. had no involvement whatsoever in —

MR. WOOD: I don’t know what you mean by involvement.

QUESTION: Well, were you aware that arms were going to southern Sudan? I mean, it seems like a lot of arms to go to, you know, a government entity in southern Sudan that’s —

MR. WOOD: I don’t believe we were aware of it. I mean, we obviously are aware of it now and we’re doing what we can to deal, as I said, with this particular incident.

QUESTION: Do you think it’s alarming that southern Sudan was getting these types of weapons?

MR. WOOD: Well, again, you know, arms in that part of the region is a concern. I mean, the growth of arms in that region. But you know, what we’ve said and we’ve supported all along is that reconciliation process in Sudan, and we continue to want to see that. Obviously, increased arms shipments are, you know, not necessarily helpful, but I don’t have anything further on the issue.


QUESTION: Can we stay on Somalia?

MR. WOOD: Sure.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on this agreement between the transition government and the opposition in Somalia that led the Ethiopian Government to say they were considering withdrawing —

MR. WOOD: Yeah, I’ve seen the reports, but I don’t have any comment.

QUESTION: You don’t have a comment?



MR. WOOD: No comment on that.

QUESTION: Even if Ethiopia is an ally of U.S.?

MR. WOOD: No, I just don’t have any comment on the actual report.

QUESTION: But do you think that it’s safe for Ethiopia to be leaving Somalia right now?

MR. WOOD: Well, look, Somalia, you know, has been a problem for quite some time. We’ve been supporting the Transitional National Government, and what we’d like to see, as other players in the international community would like to see, is peace come to that war-torn region— that war-torn country. And we’re going to continue to work with others to try to improve the situation there, but you know, the situation is difficult; there is no question about it.

QUESTION: I’m sorry, just one more question on Sudan.

MR. WOOD: Sure.

QUESTION: You guys worked for years to help broker an agreement there, and it just seems like you’re pretty shy about – I mean, this is – it seems like a big sign that things are not going well that they should be receiving secret shipments of this type and this amount of arms.

MR. WOOD: Look, I’m not going to deny that the situation is difficult in Sudan. Nobody is trying to do that. It is a very difficult situation, and we’re doing what we can in terms of trying to encourage diplomacy, to encourage people to put down their weapons and negotiate peace. That’s been our policy and it’s going to continue to be our policy. But it’s not an easy situation, and we’re going to continue to work at it, as others will. But that’s just the way we see it.

QUESTION: But as far as you know, you had no idea those arms were going?

MR. WOOD: As far as I know, we had no idea those arms were going.

QUESTION: Thank you.



SOURCE : US Department of State


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